I've been very fortunate to have lived or been able to visit, many places where the hunting was not only excellent but also varied. From turkey in West Va., ducks in Panama to geese in Scotland. Here are some of  the interesting hunts.


        I had just arrived in England with Millie and the kids. We found a small apartment to live in and I reported for work in the US Air Force Command Post for 7th Air Division. The second day there a Captain came to see me and said that he had heard that I liked to hunt. That was true. He further stated that he had reservations in Montrose Scotland to hunt geese but that the fellow that was going with him had to cancel out and was I interested in a five  day trip? I told him to wait a minute and I asked my new boss, that I had only met that day, if I could have a weeks leave?
        He was kind of startled but agreed that I could have the time off. Mildred too was kind of startled  since we had just arrived in a new country but this hunt was too good to miss.
       We would scout the geese during the day, walk the drainage ditches to get close to them, then jump up and shoot. Cold and wet work but there were thousands of Pink Foot and Tey geese to be had. We also would note where they were feeding in the rotten potato fields and on the nights with a big moon, we would sit at the end of the field where they would fly over our head and we would shoot them in the dark. The hotel where we stayed was very nice and the Scots were very happy to see us, I went back a year later and had another memorable hunt.


        We were once stationed in Stuttgart Arkansas, the duck capital of the USA. In fact, the national duck calling contest is held there every year and is generally won by the town drunk. The big problem was that the war was on and there was no shotgun shells to be found anywhere. I was able to get some number 7s, skeet shot, and not too large a load of powder in them but it was a lot better than throwing rocks at the birds.
         I would go hunting every day at dawn and return in time for my breakfast with a limit of 10 ducks and 2 geese. Now I had all these birds and no way to keep them. I would walk through the housing area with my load and knock on doors trying to give them away. This worked for a few times and then nobody wanted any more. I finally ran out of ammo but it was great sport while it lasted.
       Most of the hunting was done in the flooded woodlands or if you could find a farmer friend, in his fields. Rice was the main crop in the area and this drew in the birds. Bragging about my hunting prowess to the Squadron, my Commanding officer asked me to take him hunting. I obliged and at the end of the day, he had his limit and I had bagged only one small wood duck.


        While living in Vienna Va. near D C, we would go to the western part of Va. close to  the W Va. border and hunt deer and turkeys. I didn't have too much trouble getting my deer but the one time that I bagged two turkeys in one day was quite memorable.
        It was very cold out in the woods and I was bundled up, including chest high, rubber waders. Then a natural urge hit me and I had to shed my clothes. Of course, that was the time to see a turkey, about 150 yards in front of me in what had been a small garden enclosure with a sort of wire fence around it. I
Two turkeys from West Virginia
Two turkeys from West Virginia
struggled back into my bulky clothes and tried to sneak up on the bird using a large bush to hide me. I was using a 30 30 deer rifle and when I got to the point where I thought that I could hit him, I fired. I hit it but only broke a wing.  He headed for the small opening in the fence and I jumped up and did the same thing. He barely beat me to it, remember that I was holding my rifle, a pack on my back, my shotgun over my shoulder and had those waders and bulky clothes on.
        Now the chase was on. He headed for a very large bush with me right behind him. We made about three laps around the bush and I was really starting  to feel the effects of living a Fighter Pilots life, with my breaths coming in shorter and shorter gasps. Then he headed for the woods and I knew that I would never catch him so I fired the rifle again and I came home with about  1/2 a turkey and a lot of feathers. Later on in the day I was resting and saw one flying over me and I was able to down it with my shotgun.


        I went deer hunting a few times in Nevada with a Dentist friend of mine but he was such a game hog that I quit going with him. In fact he was bragging that once he ran across 8 deer in a dead end canyon and killed them all. That was the final straw.
Big Muley Hunt
Big Muley Hunt
Northern Nevada Muley Hunt
Northern Nevada Muley Hunt
          I went up near Ely, NV. with another friend. In that area you hunt the open lands from a truck and hope to run up on a herd. One day, when we topped a small knoll, we spotted a small herd within range. The were interested in who we were and didn't run. We each had a doe tag and there were about 10 does and one buck. We both fired. I knocked a doe down and his deer was hit in the back and couldn't walk. When we got near them we saw that he had hit the only buck, it was suffering and I had to kill it. We still needed another doe so I fired at another one and knocked it down. It was still alive when I got to it and found that I had broken both ankles. An impossible shot as I had intended to hit it in the heart?? He was a butcher so we boned out our two deer right there in the field.
          Another time I was hunting alone in Northern Nevada, hadn't seen a thing in three days. There was a lot of snow on the ground and I saw some tracks. A little further on I ran across a herd of about 10 deer. I had a clear shot an about 30 yds. and missed cleanly. Are you beginning to notice that I'm a pretty lousy shot? Well, I sat down for a rest, ate a candy bar and decided to walk down a draw and if I didn't see anything, I'd head for home.
          I went about 50 feet and a small fawn stepped out of the woods. {He was legal}. I shot and he dropped. He was very small, maybe 30 or 40 pounds. I cleaned him and noticed that I had hit him right in the heart and didn't spoil any other meat. I got to thinking about why I missed the big doe but made a clean perfect shot on the fawn. My only conclusion is that just as I pulled the trigger, the fawn walked in front of the bullet.
          1999 was the last year that I hunted in Nevada. I had a deer tag for the North slope of nearby Mt. Charleston. I scouted for three days, then hunted for three more and saw lots of deer and elk tracks but never an animal. I quit.


          When I first arrived in Panama, I was invited by a fellow pilot to fly to Nicaragua on a cross country. While there we went on a duck hunt in the swamps. We were able to bag quite a few but this was the first time that I had ever seen a Skimmer! Its a bird with a very long bill that flies close to the surface of the water and has its bill partly in the water. This way it collects mosquitoes and bugs as it flies along and the contact with the water leaves a very beautiful V shaped wake.
        Probably the most interesting duck hunt was in Panama when we went into the jungles to hunt for Pato Real {king duck} and Wichichi {plain old duck} About four of us went to the northern part of the country, camped out and hired a guide to show us where the ducks were. We slept on upturned dinghies and ate C rations that we had brought along.
        The first night the guide said that we were going to go for 'Pato Reals', a duck that roosted in trees.   They are a very large black duck about the size of a Canadian Goose. We all had primitive carbide head lamps  and headed out through the mangrove swamps.
         At first we could walk upright, then with bent backs, then on our knees, finally, we were crawling through the mangrove roots. Sometimes it was impossible to go forward, due to the density of the roots, so we would have to crawl backwards. And of course the tube to the carbide can from our back to the light strapped to our head, would get caught in the brush and pull out and it would get very black until you could put the hose back and relight it. We were out for quite a few hours and I don't remember if we did shoot any ducks.
        The next day we were posted along the banks of a narrow crescent lake and our guides and helpers would scare up the birds and as they flew by, we would knock them down. To retrieve them our helpers would dive in and swim out to the bird but sometimes they were too late because an alligator would beat them to the floundering duck. Back at camp the native women would clean the ducks and pack them in the ice that we had brought along.
        The head guide asked us to give him 2 shells and one of our guns. We said OK and off he went and returned in about an hour with 11 ducks. Guess he snuck up on them and shot them on the water. When it was time to leave, we asked the head guide how much we owed him for three days of work for him and his crew. He said that he wanted a handful of shotgun shells. These were USAF skeet loads so we gave two handfuls. All heart!!.


        My original exposure to hunting was in N.J. and PA. where we hunted rabbits and pheasants. I did go deer hunting once with my twin brothers. George had built a deer stand and let me use it while he and some others went out to drive the deer. On the way to the deer stand we saw a hunter all dressed up in a bright blaze orange coverall. He was taking a few snorts from a bottle.
         Up into the tree stand I went. A short while later I heard some shots, quite a few in fact and I could see this very large deer heading my way. I got ready. Then I could see my brother Wilbur fire at it, but it kept on coming. As It got in my range I fired three buckshot at it {notice my uncanny skill in shooting} but that didn't stop it. I reloaded and jumped out of the tree and fired while in the air. I hit it and broke his leg. I finished him off and climbed back up into the tree.
        A little while later my brother George came buy to see how I was doing. I kept talking to him so that he wouldn't look at the ground until the last minute and then I told him to stop and look down. He couldn't
Brother George and I with my 12 Point Whitetail
Brother George and I with my 12 Point Whitetail
believe the size of the antlers. 12 POINTS. We gutted it and was dragging it back to the car when we saw the guy in the orange suit laying in the snow. We thought that he might have been shot or dead. We rolled him over and he moaned '12 POINTS' We then realized that he had first shot at the deer, hit it in the face with 6 pellets, knocked it down but it got back up and ran away. He rolled over and passed out again, dead drunk. George had the head mounted for me and my Grandson Gregory now has it in his house.
        Many months later I was back in Newark to hunt some pheasants and picked up the mounted head. On a clear Sunday morning, I was driving back to Virginia  in my bloody orange flying suit and the deer head showing out the back window.
          Since I was not in a rush, I detoured through Philadelphia via Hwy 1. In town, I had to make a left turn onto Market street and I pulled out a short distance to make the turn. The light changed and I was stuck in the middle of the street blocking one lane of traffic. The vehicle that I was blocking held six Nuns. They all sat there glaring at me. When they were finally able to pull out and go around me, I lowered the window and said, 'Sorry Sister' The driver turned to me and said 'Stupid'. I guess you are pretty bad when the Nuns call you stupid.


        During one of our wild parties at the Officers Club at Turner A.F.B., Chuck Stratton or I got the idea that we ought to go duck hunting the next day. I think that it was about 2 A M when the thought struck us. Off we went to get our equipment and guns then headed for our rowboat that was moored at the base picnic area on the Flint river. We made it just before dawn and headed out.
         Neither one of us was very coherent but there we were. We hunted till about noon and shot one Florida duck. A real baby but we brought it home and froze it and I think that it was at least 4 months later that I finally threw it out. It must have taken us about 4 days to recuperate but when you are young you do dumb things.
        Another time Chuck and Herb Stone and I were shooting gunnery in our  F-84s at Matagorda Island off the coast of Texas. Whoever flew the last flight of the day would buzz the island to get the ducks in the air. There also were a lot of Quail on the island and we could always get our share of    ducks and quail. On this particular day we each had our limit and we decided to cook them over a fire on the beach. Being a Captain, I was able to get a vehicle. Then we went to the junk pile and got enough equipment to build a spit. Next, on to the mess hall and 'borrowed' a pound of butter, some apples. an onion and some bread and headed  to the beach.
        We built a fire, erected the spit over it, put the apples in the ducks. When the fire became coals, we put the ducks on the spit and rubbed them with butter. In the meantime we were working on a bottle of booze with 7 Up. As the fire got too low, we would take the ducks off, build up the fire, have another drink. When we had coals again, we would put the ducks back on, over and over. They finally were done so we each had one or two and from our bare hands, we devoured them. Now it was time for the same routine with the quail and booze. A most memorable dinner and we still talk about it whenever we meet


North Central Washington Packing in for deer hunt
North Central Washington Packing in for deer hunt
       I had a friend in Washington State who was a pretty good hunter and fisherman. His son owned a sporting goods store and was a guide for deer hunts. I was invited to go on a deer hunt and pack in on their horses. Great, I accepted immediately. We had four horses to carry our equipment and we headed into the forests of northwest Washington State. It was a beautiful trip in August and We made a very nice camp in an area where there were normally lots of deer.
        We were in the camp about five days and I think that we saw one deer and one bear. Nobody got a shot at anything but just spending the time back in the mountains was well worth the effort and expense. There is lots of work associated with a trip of this kind since the horses need constant attention plus the normal camp chores. I was very grateful to have been a part of the trip.


        Another one of my favorite pastimes is hunting Doves. There was a great spot in Manassas Virginia where you could stand in an open field and shoot to your hearts content. I have never claimed to be a wonderful wing shooter and this is where I can prove it. You could tell where I was standing because there was a white circle about 40 yards from the center where I had shot and missed. The birds dropped something as the shot pattern went past them. I would put  my success rate at one dove per ten rounds early in the season and around one bird per three rounds later in the season.
        Dove shooting in Mexico is a lot different because the White wing dove, the largest of the species, winter there and there are millions of them. In fact, they are a hazard while driving since they congregate along the edge of the highway and fly off as you approach and sometimes right in front of the car. If your shoulder can stand the pounding, 100 a day is easily attained.
        At Lake Salto, where I fish, the camp handyman is a dead shot. He borrows Bens beautiful pellet rifle and hits them in the head, then dresses them and I wrap them and freeze them. Doves are Millie and my favorite meal. Note; Close by the lake is a perfect spot for duck hunters and they shoot many more than they can take back to the US so the natives get all that they want and they share them with me.